Lawyers for the public defender’s office in New York are filing a lawsuit against the former law clerk of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg alleging that her office violated the federal privacy rights of the office’s employees by improperly collecting information from them.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claims the New York office failed to provide its employees with a notice of their privacy rights, even though the law requires that such notices be provided in writing.
The lawsuit alleges that the law office made no such notification.
“This office has been an abysmal failure at complying with federal law and the privacy rights it enforces,” the suit alleges.
The complaint, which names three law clerks as defendants, says that the public defenders office improperly shared confidential information from employees with the lawyers and other legal professionals who represented them.
“We have a duty to ensure that we maintain and protect the privacy of our clients,” the complaint says.
Ginsburg, 87, was a founding member of the Supreme Court from 1979 to 1985.
The New York attorney general’s office has previously defended its practices.
The office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
Ginsberg, the first African American to serve on the court since the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, has repeatedly defended the office, which has become a symbol of the court’s conservative tilt.
A Justice Department ethics review of the New Jersey office last year found that Ginsburg had “misused and misused her position” as a law clerk and that she had violated her oath of office.
She is set to leave the court on March 3, but her replacement has yet to be confirmed.